Double-board certified MD and nutrition expert, Dr. Amy Shah gives you her 10 facts to successfully balance your circadian rhythm
With the increasing interest in fasting around the world, I thought it would be beneficial to give you my top 10 facts about circadian fasting, which is the healthiest and most effective form of fasting for health. To learn more about circadian fasting and better understand your energy levels, pre-order my book, I’m So Effing Tired, available here! Circadian Fasting is central to this plan in order to increase energy, reduce disease and become fitter, better versions of ourselves. Here are the 10 most important facts about circadian fasting.
Fact #1: Circadian fasting is eating along with your internal clock. This means eating when your body is awake and fasting at night when you are asleep.
Fact #2: Insulin plays a role in getting blood sugar into cells and is regulated by your circadian clock, which means it’s disturbed when you eat late at night.
Fact #3: When you eat late at night and your body produces insulin, you’re asking it to produce a hormone that it’s supposed to turn down at night and focus on repairing your body and cells. This confuses your body and plays a negative role in your hormone production and natural circadian rhythm.
Fact #4: Make the earlier meals of the day, breakfast and lunch, larger and make dinner a smaller meal. After dinner, fast and this will prevent late insulin spikes.
Fact #5: Long-term insulin and glucose dysregulation happens when you eat late into the evening. This is something that we want to prevent because it leads to diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders later on.
Fact #6: Excess glucose late in the night causes mood swings, poor sleep and a decrease in energy levels.
Fact #7: As your body starts to produce melatonin a few hours before bed, it actually binds to the pancreas and various other parts of the body to tell them to shift into repair and renewal mode, and out of the metabolic zone.
Fact #8: When you stop eating in the evening, you are telling your body that It’s time to turn on the repair and renewal processes and our cells sense that.
Fact #9: Circadian fasting has SO many benefits beyond insulin levels. It can improve digestion, increase energy levels and prevent metabolic and inflammatory diseases.
Fact #10: Circadian fasting works best when you synchronize your circadian rhythms to the sun. I recommend getting daily nature time, get daylight in the morning, sleep at the same time every night and get to bed around 10PM and wake up at 6AM. This is a great way to balance your circadian rhythms.
Here are some additional day-to-day practical tips to help you successfully circadian fast:
- Fast for 12+ hours every day loosely based on circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycle)
- Start from 2 to 3 hours before bed and go for 12, 13,14 or even 15 hours of fasting.
- Work in daylight sometime in the am (before noon). Get natural light a second time in the evening is a bonus. Ideal is 45 minutes of nature time every day but even five minutes makes a difference.
- If you can’t just do water, you can do sparkling water or non-caloric coffee or tea. If you can’t do that and you’re really struggling, try 40 calories of a non-sweetened substance. This could be a splash of almond milk in your tea or 1/2 tablespoon of nut butter.
- Eat a healthy plant-heavy Mediterranean-style diet